Could Gronknandez be in Honolulu on January 29? The Patriots' absurdly productive tight end tandem of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez finished 1-2 in Pro Bowl fan voting last week (Gronk with 936,886 votes, Hernandez with 265,682) and we'll find out Tuesday night if they are selected as the first and second-team tight ends for the 2012 Pro Bowl. Fan voting is one-third of the process; the coaches and player votes count for the other two-thirds. Other Patriots who led their respective positions in the fan voting were quarterback Tom Brady (1,454,311), wide receiver Wes Welker (1,133, 787), guard Logan Mankins (272,702) and injured defensive end Andre Carter (511,693). Matt Light finished second in tackle voting (306,609) as did corner Kyle Arrington (477,390).Finishing third at their positions were DT Vince Wilfork, kicker Stephen Gostkowski and special teamer Matt Slater. Despite Arrington's seven interceptions this season, he probably hasn't had a Pro Bowl-worthy season given the travails of the Patriots' defense. Carter, who's on IR, certainly earned his consideration with 10 sacks. Wilfork absolutely deserves to be in Hawaii. Brady, Welker and Gronkowski all deserve MVP mention this year (Aaron Rodgers deserves the award). Sebastian Janikowski has been the AFC's best kicker ahead of Gostkowski. Mankins hasn't been as effective this season as in years past but he's still the pre-eminent left guard in the league. Light also deserves consideration. All Patriots would like to avoid going to Honolulu. That would mean they are slated to be in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl the following week.
Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while having watched the Curious George Halloween special about eight times over the last three or four days thanks to my three-year-old son.
*Alex Radulov is earning some early respect for his play from his Habs teammates and the fickle Canadiens fans, but let’s see how the whole season plays out for the notoriously combustible Russian winger.
*Zach Werenski has taken an early lead among his NHL rookie peers for the Calder Trophy, but it looks like it’s going to be a crowded field this year. Just a couple of weeks in, Brandon Carlo certainly looks like he could be in the conversation as well.
*A more mature David Perron is having greater success the second time around with the St. Louis Blues while contributing in many different areas.
*For something completely different: a really fun story of a Hollywood Reporter contributor recording the reactions of her 7-year-old son watching Empire Strikes Back for the first time. I was around the same age when Empire came out, so I’m sure my reactions were pretty similar to his at different points in the movie.
The Red Sox lost another key member of their front office Monday, when vice-president of amateur and international scouting Amiel Sawdaye followed former general manager Mike Hazen to Arizona.
Sawdaye will be the Diamondbacks' assistant GM. As stated by Rotoworld, he had been instrumental in building up the Red Sox' young big league talent and farm system.
The Boston Globe reported today that the Red Sox may not fill the GM vacancy created when Hazen left, instead using "other staffers to take on Hazen’s administrative duties". President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski handles many of the duties traditionally associated with the general manager's position, leaving the actual GM's job in Boston as "essentially an assistant [position] with a lofty title but little power".
The Red Sox have also lost two other front-office members this offseason: Senior baseball analyst Tom Tippett, who had been with the organization for eight years, and director of sports medicine services Dan Dyrek, who had been with the Sox for five years.